By Andreas Gkoumplias,
When most people are talking about vacations and especially summer vacations, they are always thinking about places that are near the sea as the weather is usually rather hot and it is a great opportunity to visit the beach every so often. Taking into account that people do not get the opportunity to go to the beach every single day that sounds quite reasonable. However, especially in Greece, there are lots of places that offer quite a unique experience as well, if we exclude the islands. One such place is the gigantic rocks of Meteora, along with the monasteries that exist on top of them.
The Meteora rocks are found in the region of Thessaly, in the center of Greece. Below them, the city of Kalampaka and the village of Kastraki are the hosts of millions of tourists that visit the area every year. In the latest years, they have been a very popular destination for a lot of visitors that chose and still choose to either swing by for a couple of hours or drop by for a couple of days to see and learn as much stuff as possible about these rocks.
A bit of historical knowledge about Meteora: The formation of the rocks is not actually mentioned in any history book or in Greek mythology. The amazing phenomenon was a topic for a lot of discussions in the past years, simply because no one could actually give a plausible explanation as to how the rocks came to exist in this specific place. The final answer, which was actually the closest to the explanation that scientists were searching for, came from a German archaeologist named T. Philipson, suggesting that the area of Thessaly was the end of a gigantic river flowing throughout the continent of Europe.
As that river was flowing for centuries, it was bringing along all kinds of materials that can be transported through the water like gravel and rock. When the water subsided centuries later, the gigantic formations that were being stacked all this time were revealed, and so Meteora came to be the way they are today.
Regarding the name, “Meteora” actually translates from Greek to English as an object that is very still and is not moving at all. The name Meteora was given to the rocks by Saint Athanasius, who around 1340 to 1350 founded the monastery of the Grand Meteoro and actually named the rock that the monastery was based on Meteoro, consecutively giving the name to the other rocks too. We have to note here that nowadays we have only 6 monasteries active and running, whereas in the past there used to be 24 in total.
The Meteora rocks are actually well known both for the monasteries they have and even the opportunities to attend certain ceremonies (for example, Easter) and for their amazing point of view as well. Some rocks are actually fairly easy to go to and some footpaths are easy to follow and the outcome is actually amazing! Furthermore, the town of Kalampaka and Kastraki have their own sets of different museums that provide insight into the story of the first monks that lived here, the formation of Meteora, and bits of our history as well.
Providing a very vivid alternative, the rocks of Meteora are a great destination whether or not you are religious. The amounts of peace and relaxation that anyone could get are enough to make you want to come back to this amazing place. Also, prices for hotels/guest rooms, guided tours, and museums are affordable as well as prices for food and drinks. Meteora offers a very different and very unique experience to everyone that prefers them and personally, I would recommend the trip to the rocks to everyone!
- What makes Meteora in Greece so special ?, therealgreekexpireience.com, Available here
- Best things to do in Meteora – a magical destination in Greece, thesmoothescape.com, Available here